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West's Annotated Code of MarylandCriminal Law

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Criminal Law
MD Code, Criminal Law, Refs & Annos

Editors' Notes

LEGISLATIVE NOTES
Revisor's Note (Acts 2002, c. 26):
GENERAL REVISOR'S NOTE TO ARTICLE
The Department of Legislative Services is charged with revising the law in a clear, concise, and organized manner, without changing the effect of the law. One precept of revision has been that, once something is said, it should be said in the same way every time. To that end, the Criminal Law Article Review Committee conformed the language and organization of this article to that of previously enacted revised articles to the extent possible.
It is the manifest intent both of the General Assembly and the Criminal Law Article Review Committee that this bulk revision of the substantive criminal law of the State render no substantive change. The guiding principle of the preparation of this article is that stated in Welch v. Humphrey, 200 Md. 410, 417 (1952):
[T]he principal function of a Code is to reorganize the statutes and state them in simpler form. Consequently any changes made in them by a Code are presumed to be for the purpose of clarity rather than change of meaning. Therefore, even a change in the phraseology of a statute by a codification thereof will not ordinarily modify the law, unless the change is so radical and material that the intention of the Legislature to modify the law appears unmistakably from the language of the Code. (citations omitted)
Accordingly, except to the extent that changes, which are noted in Revisor's Notes, clarify the former law, the enactment of this article in no way is intended to make any change to the substantive criminal law of Maryland.
In this article, as in other revised articles, the word “regulation” is substituted for the former references to “rules and regulations” to distinguish, to the extent possible, between regulations of executive units and rules of judicial or legislative units and to establish consistency in the use of the words. This substitution conforms to the practice of the Division of State Documents.
Also throughout this article, to be consistent and to avoid unnecessary confusion, the singular verb “adopt” is used in relation to rules or regulations, and verbs such as “prescribe” and “promulgate” are deleted. Regulations of State units, in any event, are subject to Title 10, Subtitle 1 of the State Government Article.
Also throughout this article, the term “unit” is substituted for former references to State entities such as an “agency”, “department”, “administration”, “commission”, and “office” except when a former reference indicated a specific entity, or as part of a defined term. The term “unit” is used as the general term for an organization in the State government because it is broad enough to include all such entities.
References to current units and positions are substituted for obsolete references to entities and positions that have been abolished or have otherwise ceased to exist.
The forms of standard charging documents formerly contained in Article 27 were intended to provide a simple, clear method of charging the relevant crimes without the procedural difficulties attendant in pleading at common law. The revision of those charging documents merely states the same substance in more modern language.
References to a person found guilty of a misdemeanor being “subject to § 5-106(b) of the Courts Article” are substituted for the former references to a person being “subject to imprisonment in the penitentiary” for accuracy and consistency with the Criminal Procedure Article. Provisions that make persons who are convicted of certain crimes liable for imprisonment “in the penitentiary” are obsolete in light of the superseding law that commits all persons convicted of crimes to “the jurisdiction of the Division of Correction”, notwithstanding any law requiring the imprisonment to be served at a specific State correctional facility. See CS § 9-103(a). The only remaining substantive effect of a reference to imprisonment “in the penitentiary” applies to “penitentiary misdemeanors”, which: (1) are not subject to the 1-year limitation period for other misdemeanors; and (2) are subject to the right of in banc review under Md. Constitution, Art. IV, § 22. Section 5-106(b) of the Courts Article specifically addresses these two characteristics of penitentiary misdemeanors.
The former law used the terms “crime” and “offense” interchangeably to mean a felony or a misdemeanor under the laws of the State, with no consistent rationale for choosing one or the other. In order to provide uniform language in this revision and for consistency with the Criminal Procedure Article, the Criminal Law Article Review Committee chose to use the term “crime” to mean a particular act prohibited as a felony or misdemeanor, and the term “violation” to refer to a particular instance of a crime. In a few instances, the term “offense” is retained because of common usage, such as the term “sexual offense”, which is revised in Title 3, Subtitle 3 of this article.
The common-law distinction in pleading between charging a principal of a crime and an accessory before the fact to the crime has been abolished for most purposes by statute, in response to the holding of the Court of Appeals in State v. Sowell, 353 Md. 713 (1999). See CP § 4-204, enacted by Ch. 339, Acts of 2000. Accordingly, since most of the former references to an “accessory” in the material revised in this article referred only to accessories before the fact, and not to accessories after the fact, in those instances the references to an “accessory” are deleted. See, e.g., § 3-503(a)(1) of this article; cf. § 8-408(c)(3) of this article.
Several provisions are repealed as unconstitutional in accordance with federal and State case law. Former Art. 27, § 20, which prohibited blasphemy, violated the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. State v. West, 9 Md. App. 270 (1970). Former Art. 27, §§ 152 and 153, which prohibited employing or allowing “female sitters”, violated Article 46 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Turner v. State, 299 Md. 565 (1984). Former Art. 27, §§ 558, 559, and 560, which prohibited “common thieves”, a criminal sanction on the basis of status or reputation, would have constituted “a cruel or unusual punishment in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment” to the United States Constitution. Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660 (1962). See Letter of Advice from Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. to Judge Alan M. Wilner, pp. 1-2 (October 17, 2000).
The Committee considered several provisions involving minor penalties to be more suitable for revision in other articles relating to the same substantive law, or in the case of provisions applicable to one county or a few counties, in the Public Local Laws.
Former Art. 27, § 21, as it established speed limits on Seneca Creek in Montgomery County and on specified portions of the Monocacy River, respectively, is revised in NR §§ 8-725.5 and 8-725.6, respectively.
Former Art. 27, § 21, as it prohibited reckless boating, is revised in NR § 8-738.1.
Former Art. 27, § 79A, concerning debt adjusting, is revised in CL § 14-1316.
Former Art. 27, § 111A, concerning enclosed livestock, is revised in AG § 3-701.
Former Art. 27, § 120B, which prohibited the opening of food containers in stores, is revised in HG § 21-259.1.
Former Art. 27, § 134, concerning receiving consigned goods from a transporter, is revised in CL § 14-1317.
Former Art. 27, § 158A, as it prohibited fortune telling in Caroline County, is revised in § 109 of the Public Local Laws of Caroline County.
Former Art. 27, § 158A, as it prohibited fortune telling in Carroll County, is revised in § 4-103 of the Public Local Laws of Carroll County.
Former Art. 27, § 158A, as it prohibited fortune telling in Talbot County, is revised in § 8A-1 of the Public Local Laws of Talbot County.
Former Art. 27, § 159, concerning adulterated and mislabeled beer and related products, is revised in Art. 2B, § 22-201 of the Code.
Former Art. 27, §§ 170 through 172, concerning consignment of farm articles and products, are revised in AG §§ 1-301 through 1-306.
Former Art. 27, § 172, as it related to consignment of goods other than farm articles and products, is revised in CL § 11-810.
Former Art. 27, §§ 181 through 190, concerning registration of and prohibited acts related to organizational insignia, are revised in BR §§ 19-201 through 19-207.
Former Art. 27, §§ 195 and 198, concerning false advertising and related practices, are revised in CL §§ 14-2901 through 14-2903.
Former Art. 27, § 233B, which prohibited racing horses under a false name, is revised in BR § 11-1002.
Former Art. 27, § 233C, which prohibited fraud in pari-mutuel betting, is revised in BR § 11-1003.
Former Art. 27, §§ 297C and 297D, concerning the Drug and Alcohol Grants Program and Fund, are revised in HG §§ 8-901 and 8-902.
Former Art. 27, §§ 333A through 333D and AG § 4-123.1, concerning humane slaughter of livestock, are consolidated and revised in AG § 4-123.1.
Former Art. 27, §§ 336 and 336A, concerning required injury reports, are revised in HG §§ 20-701 through 20-703.
Former Art. 27, § 399 and FL § 5-503, concerning the authority of Maryland corporations for the care of minor children, are consolidated and revised in FL § 5-503.
Former Art. 27, § 399A, concerning alcoholic beverages in Worcester County, is revised in Art. 2B, § 18-104 of the Code.
Former Art. 27, §§ 400 through 403A, concerning alcoholic beverages crimes and citations, are revised in Art. 2B, §§ 22-101 through 22-108 of the Code.
Former Art. 27, § 434, which required the use of a ship-to-shore communication device on certain vessels operated on waters of the State, is revised in NR § 8-740.1.
Former Art. 27, § 465A, which prohibited certain real estate settlement practices, is revised in RP § 14-127.
Former Art. 27, § 469, concerning junkyards and related facilities, is revised in EN §§ 5-10A-01 through 5-10A-03.
Former Art. 27, §§ 471 through 480A, concerning registration of and prohibited acts related to returnable containers and returnable textiles, are revised in BR §§ 19-301 through 19-307.
Former Art. 27, § 482, which prohibited throwing certain waste materials into certain waters of the State, is revised in NR § 8-726.1.
Former Art. 27, § 484, which prohibited damaging or interfering with the use of a public wharf or landing, is revised in NR § 8-724.1.
Former Art. 27, § 582, which prohibited operating a vessel with number, name, or home port concealed, is revised in NR § 8-713.1.
A few provisions concerning transition from prior law are transferred to the Session Laws.
Former Art. 27, § 281(i), concerning initial registration of manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers of controlled dangerous substances engaged in those activities before July 1, 1970, is transferred to the Session Laws.
Former Art. 27, § 302(a) through (c), concerning controlled dangerous substances proceedings commencing before July 1, 1970, are transferred to the Session Laws.
In some instances, the staff of the Department of Legislative Services has created “Special Revisor's Notes” to reflect the substantive effect of legislation enacted during the 2002 Session on some provisions of this article.
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
2002 Legislation
Acts 2002, c. 26, § 7, provides:
“SECTION 7. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the continuity of every commission, office, department, agency or other unit is retained. The personnel, records, files, furniture, fixtures, and other properties and all appropriations, credits, assets, liabilities, and obligations of each retained unit are continued as the personnel, records, files, furniture, fixtures, properties, appropriations, credits, assets, liabilities, and obligations of the unit under the laws enacted by this Act.”
Acts 2002, c. 26, § 8, provides:
“SECTION 8. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That nothing in this Act affects the term of office of an appointed or elected member of any commission, office, department, agency, or other unit. An individual who is a member of a unit on the effective date of this Act shall remain a member for the balance of the term to which appointed or elected, unless the member sooner dies, resigns, or is removed under provisions of law.”
Acts 2002, c. 26, § 9, provides:
“SECTION 9. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That except as expressly provided to the contrary in this Act, any transaction or employment status affected by or flowing from any change of nomenclature or any statute amended, repealed, or transferred by this Act and validly entered into or existing before the effective date of this Act and every right, duty, or interest flowing from a statute amended, repealed, or transferred by this Act remains valid after the effective date of this Act and may be terminated, completed, consummated, or enforced as required or allowed by any statute amended, repealed, or transferred by this Act as though the repeal, amendment, or transfer had not occurred. If a change in nomenclature involves a change in name or designation of any State unit, the successor unit shall be considered in all respects as having the powers and obligations granted the former unit.”
Acts 2002, c. 26, § 10, provides:
“SECTION 10. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That, except as expressly provided to the contrary in this Act, any person licensed, registered, certified, or issued a permit or certificate by any commission, office, department, agency, or other unit established or continued by any statute amended, repealed, or transferred by this Act is considered for all purposes to be licensed, registered, certified, or issued a permit or certificate by the appropriate unit continued under this Act for the duration of the term for which the license, registration, certification, or permit was issued, and may renew that authorization in accordance with the appropriate renewal provisions of this Act.”
Acts 2002, c. 26, § 11, provides:
“SECTION 11. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act does not rescind, supersede, change, or modify any rule adopted by the Court of Appeals that is or was in effect on the effective date of this Act concerning the practice and procedure in and the administration of the appellate courts and the other courts of this State.”
Acts 2002, c. 26, § 13, provides:
“SECTION 13. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That it is the intention of the General Assembly that, except as expressly provided in this Act, this Act shall be construed as a nonsubstantive revision, and may not otherwise be construed to render any substantive change in the criminal law of the State.”
Acts 2002, c. 26, § 14, provides:
“SECTION 14. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the catchlines, captions, and Revisor's Notes contained in this Act are not law and may not be considered to have been enacted as a part of this Act.”
MD Code, Criminal Law, Refs & Annos, MD CRIM LAW Refs & Annos
Current through legislation effective July 1, 2020, from the 2020 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
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